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The Connor Bedard hockey card phenomenon

'We are about 6 or 7 years apart from what all those people missed out on when McDavid came out. They don't want to miss out on Connor Bedard.'
Rob Collins, owner of Ultimate Sportscards in North Bay, holds up a highly sought-after Connor Bedard rookie card. Photo by Chris Dawson/BayToday.

Rob Collins has seen a lot of highs and lows in the sports card industry. 

Collins, owner and operator of Ultimate Sportscards located on Cassells Street in North Bay, witnessed the surge in the sports memorabilia and sports cards industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The market has taken a slight dip since, but one thing that can boost the industry is the emergence of a young superstar to the hobby like Connor Bedard of the Chicago Blackhawks. 

"The hype is overwhelming," Collins said. 

"He came out strong obviously and has been leading rookies in goals and points most of the year," added Collins despite a broken jaw injury from which he returned this week.  

Collins has seen this type of frenzy before going back to 2015 to 2017 when Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews were emerging.

"We are about 6 or 7 years apart from what all those people missed out on when McDavid came out," noted Collins.  

"They don't want to miss out on Connor Bedard. That is what is happening."  

See related: Auston Matthews turning the hockey card industry upside down

And: Connor Bedard to boost sports memorabilia industry

Back in the spring of 2023, Collins estimated the first NHL rookie cards of Bedard could go for three or four times what Connor McDavid's rookie cards went for back in 2015-16. His prediction is coming true as Bedard's rookie cards continue to roll out.  

Collins says back when McDavid's first O-Pee-Chee card was released, it was only going for $15 to $20 but in 2023, the Bedard O-Pee-Chee rookie card, a lower-end product, is being sold for $60 to $120.  

"Definitely this year because of the hype of Connor Bedard, everyone just wants to hold it and have it," said Collins. 

A rare Bedard draft day rookie card which could be found in 2023-24 Upper Deck Series One, is going for as much as $500 to $700.  

Collins says getting your hands on a Bedard rookie card is now more than just having a sports card of your favourite player. 

"There are not a lot of rookie cards of him," said Collins, noting the Young Guns rookie will be the most sought-after rookie card of Bedard. 

"People are not only in this for the collectability of it anymore, they are in it for the investment; COVID-19 was a perfect example.

"People got into it because they saw the value of the cards and what they have become now, so to us here it has become an investment/hobby so a lot of people will be more in tune this year and more than any other year that is for sure."  

And that limited supply is leading to high demand. 

"What is happening is there is not enough product, they don't print enough product anymore so the hype has super exceeded what we all anticipated it would be," explained Collins. 

"There are not a lot of rookie cards of him." 

The hype is real as Collins says his store is already sold out of Upper Deck Series 2 boxes due to the fact the popular Connor Bedard Young Guns rookie can be found in those packs. 

Those boxes which traditionally sell for $150 or $175 Canadian, are being sold online for well over $300 per box. 

He says the Bedard hype is great for the entire hobby. 

"It generates a huge influx for the rest of the rookies because it is just not about Connor Bedard, there is Adam Fantilli and several other young superstars so what happens is as you are hoping to hit a Connor Bedard, you are hitting all those other rookies at the same time so it generates interest for the whole industry," he said. 

"Everybody is coming back, everyone wants more Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews rookies and Jack Hughes and everybody, so it definitely creates massive hype for our hobby."

Collins offers this advice to those who want to get started in the Sports Cards industry. 

"My advice would be to go and buy a pack of Upper Deck and if you happen to hit any of the rookies put them away and keep them for a long time because that is where the money is," he said.   

Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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